Brionee Noonan

Summer 2010

Today is the final day of my six week internship at the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) in Adelaide through the Aurora Project Internship Program. I am really sad to be leaving because I have enjoyed working in a pleasant legal environment where colleagues express the same interests and motives in their work. I felt as though I was a part of the team from day one.
The Aurora Project operates volunteer internship programs in varied Indigenous based organisations across Australia. The endeavour of such a program is to encourage university students and graduates across the fields of anthropology, law and some social sciences, to provide assistance to lawyers anthropologists and research teams who work in such organisations and also to gain knowledge about future career opportunities that work with Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Land Corporation is a statutory authority set up under Part 4A of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005. The Indigenous Land Corporation was split into three offices, the Eastern Division located in Brisbane (Queensland and New South Wales), Western Division located in Perth (Western Australia) and Central Division, located in the Head Office in Adelaide (South Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and Australian Capital Territory).
The ILC’s purpose is to assist Indigenous people with land acquisition and land management to achieve economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits. The ILC accepts applications from Indigenous groups for Land Acquisition and Land Management projects. It also works in collaboration with other organisations and Government agencies to develop new projects. In my internship I worked in the Legal Section of Head Office.

During the six weeks of my internship, I spent the majority of my time working on a research project examining a wide range of Indigenous title holding bodies. I have also had the opportunity to assist in practical legal work such as drafting clauses for contracts, writing contracts from precedents, attending meetings and researching for the legal team. I also had the opportunity to shadow Paul Hayes to the Federal Court a hearing. I found this a very rewarding experience.

I have really enjoyed my placement at ILC and I am very glad that I plucked up the courage to apply for The Aurora Project. Working on the THB Project has given me a broad understanding of the ILC and the breadth of work that it does for Aboriginal people in the acquisition of property through to land management. It also gave me an insight to ‘real’ legal work and what lawyers do in their working day, as opposed to a theoretical based one. I found the staff at the ILC to be exceptional, which made settling in and working very easy. Sometimes I felt awful for interrupting their work with mind-numbing questions but I think they secretly enjoyed the break and were more than willing to assist. I will miss the staff but we have promised to keep in contact.

I am very thankful to the Aurora Project for making this placement possible and opening my mind to the different career opportunities available in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, even non-legal. I am delighted that I completed this internship because now, even though in my final year of an Arts/ Law degree, I finally have direction.
For more details on the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, please visit their website at Applications for the summer 2010/11 round of internships will be open in August – please check the website for details.